Benhams go Walkabout WEEK 9 - THE GIBB RIVER RD, BELL GORGE TO WINDJANA GORGE

Quote of the Week - Duke “Rocken Roll are bad singers”. Quite often yes, but it doesn’t seem to matter Dukey Boy.

QUICK STOPS AREN'T THAT QUICK.....SOLAR PANEL, 3 KIDS, BOUNCER, 2 NAPPY CHANGES, FOOD, DRINKS - TICK!

More corrugated roads that range from ‘I can see the ripples but I can’t really feel them’ to ‘holy moly! Is every nut an bolt going to rattle out of the car!’ Luckily it changed often so our brains didn’t end up scrambled and the boys did’t complain much which is something I was afraid of. Each of the stops on the Gibb River Rd is centred on a waterway, gorge or waterfall. They are all unique in size, geology, surrounding landscape and accessibility. Sometimes there other walks and waterholes or beautiful locations nearby. Sometimes nothing at all.

THE GIBB RIVER ROAD

Bell Gorge had one walk and that was it. Very dramatic as you approach it from the top of a very large waterfall but not suited to the age and number of our children so we didn’t get to climb down to the waterhole which is the best way to enjoy it. We did run into the Kimberley photographer Ben Knapinski again. Friendly fellow who proceeded to convince Angus to jump off the side of the falls. About 6-8m high. I was torn with excitement that he was doing something so outrageous and trying to capture it on camera, at the same time keeping my balance on the cliff edge with baby strapped to my front and 2 super eager boys who also wanted to watch. Turns out we couldn’t see where they jumped from and I ended up screaming at the boys to “just stop moving!” Am I irrational in imagining them tripping and plummeting over the cliff? Turns out this is a ‘stressy mum’ scenario for me along with ‘road-safety-nazi mum’.

Finally got the boys to do some craft and I aced a damper on the campfire. Tried to bake cookies on the campfire that night with fellow campers…….I think they were polite about the result.

CAMPING HAIRCUTS

Now Windjana Gorge, the final stop on the Gibb, provided the most dramatic landscape and what I think I had been expecting. Steely grey, jagged cliff face jutting up from the plains. Looked like it was from a scene in Lord of the Rings. Hiding underneath the dark grey exterior was a delicate white and pink limestone with veining and crystalline deposits. The kitchen designer in me wanted to slice some slabs out of it. The gorge had heaps of smallish freshwater crocs which the boys quickly found boring. I think I am the biggest kid with how excited I get when we see animals and big tip trucks and road trains. I still stop to look for a shooting star each time I step out of the camper at night. Tally = 1

    DUSK AT WINDJANA/ ANT HILLS/ DUKE WITH CROCS

We made multiple trips into the gorge to see it in different light and noted how many people would miss this place in its true beauty as they raced through on a tour or in the middle of the day when they arrived at camp. The place became magical as the sun was nearing the horizon and peaking through the gorge opening to glow on the cliff face. The stillness of evening had set in so the glow was reflected on the water. This is when we appreciate our slower approach to seeing these areas and I am surprised at just how fast some people are traveling through.

     What you make when you have run out of fruit, both fresh and tinned, vegetables, bread and cereal.

Driving the last 100 or so kms of the Gibb, stopped to take a photo of the boys with a boab. Sounds easy right? Duke finds a dead frog he wants to keep. I can’t tell if its real or a little garden statue. Real. Yuck. Duke loses his nut. I distract him somehow then near the boab are the feathery remains of some roasted bird of prey. Duke wants the biggest feathers that are still attached to some rotted flesh. Duke loses his nut x 2.

Oh. And we lost out camper spare wheel. Guess we will just leave it there to bless someone else in their time of need.